The Food Share program volunteers pack supplies for food-insecure families. Screenshot, CCSS website

The Food Share program volunteers pack supplies for food-insecure families. Screenshot, CCSS website

Cumberland council OK’s money for food program

Community school group asks to use unused money to help families

The Village of Cumberland is backing a request from the Cumberland Community Schools Society in its application for a gaming grant from the province.

The funding would be used to help cover operating expenses for the school’s lunch program, after-school programming and the Youth Centre.

At a meeting earlier in November, Coun. Vickey Brown made a motion to support the request to write a letter of support, which council passed unanimously. The society has to get its application in by the Nov. 24 deadline.

The society also requested a change to its service agreement with the village. Specifically, because it has had to close up the Youth Centre due to the coronavirus pandemic, beyond offering support services online, the society wants to redirect unused funding for the year to its Food Share program. As CCSS executive director Sue Loveless said in her letter to council, “We have not yet re-opened the Youth Centre as the school district has restricted access to school facilities outside of school hours. We hope to either re-open or offer youth programming in a modified format in the New Year.”

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In April, the society started working with the Weird Church to establish Cumberland Food Share to help food-insecure households in the community. Loveless said in her letter that demand has more than doubled since April.

“They can’t do anything … unless we support that request,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “I certainly do support them. I think the Food Share program is a very worthwhile project, and they actually need the funds to keep it going.”

The mayor was impressed when she went to volunteer recently, adding the society has had the same volunteers from the beginning and accomplish a lot with the volunteer hours.

“They had the boxes packed in an hour,” she said.

Brown again made a motion for an addendum in the agreement to permit CCSS to apply the remaining 2020 funding of $5,833 to the Food Share program.

“That’ll get them through to the end of December,” she said.

Baird added the grant application is to help them with funding beyond this year.

The Youth Centre usually operates three days a week for youth aged 11 to 15 to socialize and take part in activities, but it had to close in mid-March. It started offering youth and staff a chance to connect via Zoom from April through June.

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